Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: Honda

2020 Honda Odyssey review

This week I was cruising around in the 2020 Honda Odessey for my latest “regular girl car review”. Last year this was one of the most memorable vehicles that I drove and wrote about. I was able to tie all of its family focused features into my single household lifestyle by recommending it as the ideal party bus, versus a people transporter able to hold up to 7 at a time. But this year I was determined to evaluate it better, to review it as what it was designed for.

But first, first blush impressions. As I am not the intended demographic, this one didn’t catch my attention like other SUVs might. A long van with all the round edges, it didn’t read speedy or fun, but instead: sturdy and stable with plenty of cargo room. In terms of size, it is a fairly substantial vehicle, I felt very small in the driver’s seat. Although on the same token, I liked all the room that I had within the cabin, unencumbered. With the pull down armrest, all the binning on the centre console and at the side of each door panel. Here was even a place to tuck your handbag right up front; doing so without needing to impede the leg room of yourself or your passenger.

As the “touring” model, this came with all the top of line bells and whistles. And you definitely get that impression right away, just by looking down from the driver’s seat. There were just so many more options than what most vehicles consider “standard”. Like a front climate and a rear climate function, which makes sense considering how long the vehicle is, and how far the air flow must travel. Individual head phone jacks, cup holders, and USB ports for each individual seat. And a built-in DVD player, that I never got to experience as the sole commuter. Of note is the speedometer display. Where others pay extra for such an after market feature, this comes standard in the Odessey, giving it the look of an aftermarket dash display; like that of a race car. And it only happened once, but to my surprise the infotainment system started speaking in a very soothing female voice, letting me know that there was a hazardous driving condition reported in at a specific road. It was not near my route, but I thought that was still a very kind gesture of the car.

The 2020 Odessey also had all the standard features you come to expect from a modern vehicle: Econ and sport mode, lane and parking assist, and adjustable lumbar support that you can customize. Of note, I made the mistake of not setting my preferred seat, wheel, and mirror position as a favourite when I exited the car for the first time; so make sure that you. Because be warned, the time you take to set it perfect is all for nought when the driver seat pulls out when you exit, and readjusts itself naturally to the second driver’s specifications when you come back in. A bit of a hassle, but in contrast features like the heated and cooling seats stay hot or cool, so that when you return to the vehicle you need not toggle those preferences again.

As for the way it drove: There was plenty of body rolling on turns, but on the straightaways it was smooth and stable, like you were driving a tank. It was good on rainy days, the weight had it sticking to the ground, and with its size you barely felt the speed bumps you glided over. Although, the car does jerk a bit after you stop and lift your foot from the brake, here using the E brake is recommend. I definitely didn’t get the speed and acceleration from this, that I am used to with other vehicles on the highway. It was very difficult for me to overtake cars and change lanes like I normally do. Even with a double tap on the drive button to put it in sport mode, it still left sluggish. I found myself mashing down on the gas pedal, trying to get additional more power and it just wasn’t there. I could feel the vehicle struggle under me.

Every time you stop you have the option of pushing down hard to turn off the engine to save fuel. A gauge tells you the distance you’ve driven, your average fuel consumption, and the range you have left. For safety it had all the precautionary assists: lanes, braking, and parking; including the words “brake” flashing across the dash when the vehicle thinks you are going to fast and might collide with something in front of you. And when it came to parking, reverse stall is my specialty, however in the Odyssey it did take some getting use to. All the visual sensors and sounding beeps do help, although they also do a good job scaring you away from hitting anything. There was also a weird sputtering noise I heard from under the hood, it didn’t effect my drive, just something unmistakable.

Once again, I am definitely not the intended demographic for this vehicle, therefore I reached out to someone who is. A mother and daughter duo who would appreciate the comfort and space of the 2020 Honda Odyssey, therefore the second half of this post is written in their perspective. All the points I found troublesome above, made it the ideal vehicle for a family of 4 or more. We planned a trip to a farmer’s market to be able to test out the utilities of the mini van, including the tailgate.

Our journey began with me picking them up, and the install of our littlest passenger’s car seat. The seatbelt buckle dangling from the roof that once beguiled me, now made sense. I saw mom pulling the strap down and using it to secure the seat securely in to place.

I now also had reason to open the side doors that self slide open with a pull of the latch or a push of a button. Its ease helps busy moms with full arms, load and unload kids and goods into the van. Similarly, the foot release tailgate helped in loading handfuls of grocery and assorted gear when you could use another set of hands.

Once situated and comfortable in the Honda Odessey, Mom asked how many soccer kids could fit in the backseat and how much hockey equipment we could haul around with our minivan. She was satisfied with the conclusion, and I definitely found the right buyer for such a vehicle.

And with my new passengers’ consideration, all the power outlets, USB ports, and headphone jacks in the backseat were ideal in keeping little hands and little minds busy on longer trips. There was even a pull down sunshade to keep things cool.

Up front, Mom becomes command centre with all the buttons and features at her finger tips. She can open the doors to allow kids to rush in or out, without leaving her seat. Or give them the perfect cool down climate at the back, while she is toasty up front. And with the Odyssey’s larger gas tank, it helped to avoid the necessity of frequent fill ups. perfect for the daily commute and driving around the team to all their after school curriculars.

As for our planned tailgate, there was plenty of sprawling space at the back, enough to lay down a mattress, or in our case a picnic for three. And when we were done eating our particularly messy meal, clean up was a breeze with a built-in shop vac to help vacuum up all the crumbs.

In short, it isn’t the sexiest car to look at, or the one you want to arrive at a scene with. But it is very functional and very practical, and it definitely hits the demographic it was created for: moms and growing families. Thank you Honda Canada for the experience and to my friend for letting me play mom briefly for the day.

HONDA Canada

South Okanagan in the 2019 Honda CR-V

I was heading to the Okanagan for the weekend and thought what better vehicle to get me there than the 2019 “Honda CR-V”, with its best in class fuel economy and its Econ mode to help us “drive towards a greener future”.

I was excited to be able to take in the Okanagan this fall. I have never visited during this season, so found magic in the red, orange, and yellow changing leaves. They were sprinkled amongst ever greens and the rocky mountain range.

We were able to easily take it all in with our no hassle ride. The Honda CR-V’s remote start and walk away auto-lock, saved us time during our pit stops and gas pumps. And it was easy to get in and out of with 90-degree door mobility. There was plenty of cargo room with an easy to fold down back seat and two level modes to meet all our storing and hauling needs.

We paused to take in the river, and stopped to explore the damp soil patches for various mushrooms.

When on the road, the Honda CR-V kept us comfortable and safe. Sitting pretty with perforated leather seats that heated. And well secured with blind spot display, and all wheel drive with intelligent system control. It got us there and back on 8.5L of gas at 100km. 4 hours each way, and driving from city to city in between; an amazing feet for an SUV.

Fall in the Okanagan has fruit stands bringing their pumpkin and gourds out to the roadside for sale. Many of the ones in Keremeos included visual displays for travellers to stop and take photos of and with. I didn’t know the extent of the variety of gourds available, before this trip. Here are some of my favourite photos.

We also stopped to watch cows graze on the mountainside, enjoying the ability to interact with livestock; something that you can’t do in the city.

We eventually made our way to Osoyoos, to our accommodations for the weekend: “Spirit Ridge”. For our time at Canada’s dessert resort and it’s new restaurant, visit the link below.

Our visit specifically coincided with Oliver BC’s “Cask and Keg” festival. An adults only event that hosted local South Okanagan beer, spirits, and ciders; for friendly sampling. For the full review of the participating breweries through tasting, visit the link below.

Cask and Keg, Oliver BC

The following day it was time to celebrate local Okanagan wines through a similar tasting program, at the “Festival of the Grape”. For the highlights of the family friendly event, and a few of the participating wineries, visit the link below.

Festival of the Grape, Oliver BC

During our road trip we also spotted and marvelled at “Spotted Lake”. As per Wikipedia, “Spotted Lake is a saline endorheic alkali lake located northwest of Osoyoos in the eastern Similkameen Valley of British Columbia, Canada, accessed via Highway 3”. The silt at the bottom of the lake is exclusively gathered and utilized by the First Nations people for its healing properties. However, over the years of us visiting, we realized its spots are no longer as bold, and the body water has transformed.

And when in the area, we always seem to find ourselves at “Tickleberry’s”. And despite the cold, the ice cream and gift shop was still a popular spot in fall.

I enjoyed a double scoop in a waffle cone. The seasonally inspired pumpkin spice and “Sunday breakfast”, a vanilla based ice cream made with fruit loops and lucky charms cereal with marshmallow bits.

For dinner on our second night we visited “Convivia Bistro” in Osoyoos. A modern restaurant serving Italian and French cuisine; prepared with local ingredients, and created to be complimented by local wines. Here, we enjoyed some house rosé with our pizza and pasta. For the latter we had lasagna with a tomato meat sauce, cream, Parmesan, and mozzarella. It was all in all pretty standard, it just needed a touch more seasoning. But this comfort serving hit the spot for me, on this night.

Out of preference, my partner ordered the “Goat Cheese And Honey” pizza with the goat cheese on the side. He liked everything else the pizza promised: olive oil, mozzarella, goat cheese, parmesan, sundried tomatoes, bacon, basil, and honey. Truly the pizza needed the pop the goat cheese gave, some interest to contrast with everything else.

8312 74 Ave, Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V0
(250) 495-2223

For breakfast on our way back home we had brunch at “Jo Jo’s Cafe”, a popular neighbourhood spot, showcasing local art. Here we enjoyed one of their breakfast sandwiches with bacon bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato, and egg in an English muffin. A good start, before making our way home.

8316 Main St, Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V4
(250) 495-6652

And with that this proved to be a quick and successful trip to the Okanagan, all made possible by the Honda CR-V. Thank you for the smooth ride and the travel memories Honda Canada.


Twilight Drive-In with the Honda CR-V

I have never been to a drive-in movie theatre before, so what better a time than during the last bit of dry season, to check out the “Twilight Drive-In” in Aldergrove. Although, regardless of weather, all movies scheduled for the day will still play: rain, shine, sleet, or snow.

Our vehicle of choice: to get us there and to sit and enjoy the movie in was the “2019 Honda CR-V”. With its best in class fuel economy, even though the drive was far, our wallets didn’t suffer too much. Which meant more money spent on movie-viewing snacks.

Your choice in movies are posted online, a few days before the start of the week. Originally we were planning on visiting during a Tuesday, when general admission is only $10, and you save $3.50 per person. But for fall, they are only open from Friday to Sunday. And this week it was a marathon of clowns. Either the new “Joker” movie at 7:30pm or “IT 2” at 9:40pm. But you needn’t choose, because admission allows you to watch both movies. It is worth noting that they only accept cash or debit at the box office, and cash at the concession. Although there is an ATM on location, so should you need it.

The box office opens 45minutes before the start of the movie. Ushers with reflective jackets and flashlights help guide your way. Each vehicle is given a plastic garbage bag, and encouraged to use it instead of littering. It is first come first serve, and you park where ever you want. We drove to the very front as to not have the view of any other cars in our foreground. Individual spaces are marked with a white pole, well aligned to ensure that each vehicle has plenty of room between one another. The overall ground is flat, but each “stall” has a little mound of dirt that you can use to perch your vehicle atop of.

Many of the SUVs present, reversed into their stall. With an opened tailgate, passengers bundled up to watch the movie, cozy with pillows and blankets surrounding them. Had we known this before arriving, we would have dressed warmer and done the same. After all our “Honda CR-V” came with plenty of cargo room, and two-level flat luggage compartment. A “full flat mode” and a “capacity max mode”, both designed to fit your storage needs, or in this case two grown adults.

For audio you need to tune into a specific FM station, within your car. Meaning you can set the volume to how loud you like it. I enjoyed being able to talk over the movie, to engage with my guest, snack loudly on our food, rustle with careless abandon when I wanted some candy, and turn on the light if we dropped anything. And not encouraged, but possible, is playing with your phone during the movie as well.

To access the audio it is recommended that you turn your key to the “Accessory” position, to consume as little power as possible. You also leave your headlights and brake lights off during the movie (as to not distract from other’s experience). Cars with daytime running lights usually can be turned off by applying the emergency brake.

For food, you get out of the car to purchase what ever you like from their indoor concession stand. This is also where the washrooms are. There are only 2 tills, and the clerk that takes your order is also the one that assembles it. Everything minus the burgers and fried food, which comes from the kitchen. So be warned and come early, as there is a wait to get in, let alone order. I didn’t mind the extra time, to look over the lengthy menu. I was delighted that they offer a lot more than most normal movie theatres do. Fountain drinks in plenty of flavours, bottled drinks, energy drinks, ice coffees, and hot beverages. If you are looking for something more substantial they have plenty of sweet snacks to munch on: a variety of chocolates, gummies, and candies; ice cream bars, and even sno cones. For savoury there was the classic buttered popcorn, corn dogs, burgers, hot dogs, fries, poutine, onion rings; and nachos.

We feasted in the comfort of our Honda CR-V cabin. Where we were able to sprawl everything across the central console. Convenient, as we stayed in the front seat for the duration movie, lowering our perforated leather seats back for the perfect recline. The only hiccup, not being able to run our vehicle fully meant no heated seats or rain sensing wipers. So with the gentle rain coming down, there was the need to turn on the car in order to clear the wind shield of moisture now and again. Had we watched from the tailgate, the above wouldn’t have been an issue.

As for the aforementioned food, the following is all that we shared and it was all better than we expected. The “Nachos supreme” came with some assembly required. A sealed bag of corn chips that you pour out into a cardboard box and top with sliced jalapeño. All to enjoy with a dip into hot nacho cheese and/or a scoop of juicy tomato salsa.

The large order of popcorn came with multiple pumps of butter. A couple mid way through, and more, once filled. The ideal snack for any movie goer.

The onion rings had a good crispiness to them, but I wanted more crunchy batter and less gummy onion.

I liked the use of actual cheese curds in the poutine, but not so much the gravy. It was flat and I could have used some more pepperiness to it.

The chicken bites came with your choice of sauce. We went for the honey garlic, which was two sauces combined in one dish. They did what I wanted, adding some salty and sweet to these breaded nuggets of white meat.

The hot dog was exactly as expected. A regular wiener in a plain bun, which you dress as you like at the condiment bar.

I was surprised by how much I liked the “Double burger”, I added cheese to this stack of burger patties, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and pickles. It just needed more ketchup for my taste.

And for dessert, our favourite candy to leave our meal on a sweet note. I thought about ice cream or a sno cone, but didn’t want to visit the concession stand mid movie or in the little time you have between movies.

Between the double feature there is an intermission, a video plays inviting your to visit the concession stand. It is basically food coming to life in games and dance. Gum and liquorice jumping rope, a popsicle leading cups of ice cream in a march, and a bag of popcorn juggling its fillings. And when the hot dog wiener takes the stage and eventually lands in the bun, everyone honks their car horn. The honk serves no other purpose, besides you acknowledging that you have been to the drive-in before and know of this ritual.

As for the movie, I don’t review cinema; although as a longtime Batman comics fan, I can say that this Joker’s origin story holds up and satisfies. And as for “IT 2” I am a notorious scaredy cat, so couldn’t stomach most of it without closing my eyes tight and plugging my ears with my finger tips.

Overall, I highly recommend this experience. This was a great way to enjoy a newly released movie, in the comfort of a car, with surprisingly tasty food to boot. And done even better if your vehicle of choice is the 2019 Honda CR-V.


3350 260 St, Aldergrove, BC V4W 2B1
(604) 856-5063

Getting Outdoors with the Honda Civic Sport Coupe

Every year for my birthday, my partner takes me for a weekend to the Okanagan, an easy drive eastward to escape the city and our every day lives. And this year we would made our getaway in the Honda Civic Sport Coupe.

Civics have continue to be the best selling car in Canada for a reason; and many of us have owned one, one time or another. For my partner and I, our first car was a Civic, in one of its past reincarnations. So the shared four hour drive up and down, also served as a ride down memory lane.

The Honda Civic is known for its reliability, a necessity when driving great distances, in areas with no cell phone reception. And it boasts a great fuel economy, thanks to its small engine displacement; ideal when fill ups can cost you an arm and a leg with Vancouver’s gas prices. It is also agile because of its size, making winding roads and the need to change lanes more fun, than a challenge. And a two door coupe spoke to our personal family dynamic, no children, nothing but storage space needed in the back seat. Thus, giving us the look of a sports car without the premium.

So off we went with our adventure-mobile! Our first day out we decided to go camping, and joked that the sporty coupe was more a street vehicle, then one you take when venturing out doors. But during the ride to and from on the highway, having a sports mode made the drive more enjoyable. The winds, the curves, the loops, and the turns tested the handling, and the Civic Sport Coupe rose to the occasion.

I was especially surprised to see how much we could pack into the truck and back seat. We were able to fit all that we needed for a comfortable camping excursion, as well as the supplies needed for a beach filled getaway, the days after.

Two hours breezed by and we were at Manning Park Resort, heading towards Lightening Lake’s campsite. We were limited in choices thanks to the long weekend, but were more than happy with our lot. It was a short walk to either the out house; or the facilities with running water, hot showers, and flushable toilets. We were only at lot 107 for the night. Many more families booked for the entire BC Day long weekend.

I must preface this by saying I don’t take to the wilderness well. But my partner pushes me out of my comfort zone, so that I can grow. We don’t camp often: one day, once a year and that is plenty. Therefore we haven’t found the need to spend much on our equipment. A cheap tent with 3 rod installation, an air mattress that you can manually pump with your foot or hands, and foldable chairs to sit by the fire pit with. All easy to set up and take down, but not necessarily the most comfortable or spacious.

Our tent was cramped and cold with very little room for more than our queen-sized air mattress. There was barely a boarder between us and the wilderness in our flimsy tent, and our mattress loss air steadily. My partner woke up several times during the night, uncomfortable from the lack of support. He found himself needing to pump with vigour in to re-inflate. I managed to sleep through this. He was also kind enough to borrow a sleeping bag so that I could be warm and cozy, to get a good night’s sleep. So I couldn’t really complain as he slept directly on the air mattress with a comforter wrapped around him like a burrito.

I also get bitten easily and often from mosquitoes and bugs alike. But this year I came equipped with a bug repellent lotion, an aerosol spray, and coiled incense that is proven to ward off mosquitoes with its unique smell. I ended up lighting them and surrounding myself with three of them. And for the most part they worked, I walked away the next morning with only 2 bites. But I am sure the smoke from the fire we huddled around helped too.

Thankfully, our BC summer has been wetter than usual and there aren’t the same fire bands as they were in summers past. So we were able to take advantage of the fire pit, stationed at our camp site. This also doubled as the heat source we needed to cook our dinner and breakfast over next day.

We grilled buffalo and sweet garlic chicken wings and a beef and souvlaki chicken skewer for dinner. And followed it with a toasted marshmallow for dessert.

And for breakfast my partner had miniature boxed cereal and hot buttered toast. And I had a grilled hot dog with our choice of condiments in mayonnaise, ketchup, and/or relish.

Camping just wouldn’t be the same without a campfire. We purchased wood at the local gas station and supplemented what else we needed by foraging. We then parked ourselves in front of our crackling fire for the night, stoking it, watching wood burn to ash. It kept us warm as we drank and talked, pausing to look up at the dark sky and the stars sprinkled throughout it.

The next day we woke with the rustling of nylon from our neighbours, who decided to get an early start. It is hard to sleep in with the light and heat of the sun transforming your tent into a sauna.

Lightening Lake was a 5 minute walk from our campsite so we decided to take a morning stroll to it. It was a nice body of water to take a dip in, paddle a boat across, or simply catch some sun by.

Check out was at 11am, and after a rough morning we headed out. There was only one sink running in the women’s washroom. So I made do by brushing my teeth and spitting the excess tooth paste over a bush. I passed on lining up for the one shower altogether. I figured it was only 2 hours to our air bnb in Naramata, and I could just clean myself there.

Our next 3 nights would be spent in a more luxurious setting, comparatively. This was newly refurbished studio that gave us the privacy of an individual home, with the adjacency to the city and its social life, that we as tourists were looking for.

It has a new kitchen and washroom. The former was furnished with a coil-less stove and all the equipment you need to make a meal, and the dishwasher to clean it all afterwards. Coffee maker, toaster, microwave, and kettle. The only thing we would have liked in addition was a barbecue.

The washroom was very modern, a smaller space that was well designed. The only downside was the door that hesitated to close and lock and the fact that if you didn’t, a window aligned with its door way, meant the neighbours could get an unobstructed view of you on the toilet.

The suite had an air conditioning unit that was quick to cool the smaller space. And best of all, when it got to cold or noisy at night, you could simply straighten up and turn it off from the bed in its alcove, overlooking the living room.

But hands down the reason to rent this lake side studio is for it patio. A step out of the living room gave you an elevated and unobstructed view of the farm land and fruit orchards below, and the lake in the distance. We would spend most of our time here eating meals, playing the available board games, and simply enjoying the scenery from sunrise to sunset. You can see the water by day and all the stars at night.

Our air bnb hosts also let us borrow their kayaks and their pick up truck to transport them and us down to the Okanagan Lake, which we had been admiring above. Our kayaks allowed us to enjoy the water in a different way. We kept dry as we sat slightly reclined, cutting through the water with our paddles. We were also invited to borrow their bicycles and helmets, although we ran out of time during this visit.

Instead, we would spend most of our time at Skaha Lake, the other lake that feeds the Okanagan Valley, and sandwiches the nearby town of Pentiction. Here, its smooth orange sands, ample parking, and plenty of convenient concessions make it out favourite beach in the Okanagan.

During this year’s trip we also visit several restaurants and wineries, but those will be covered in their own posts. For all those reviews, check out the “Travel” section of the blog, under “Okanagan”.

In short, another great annual trip to the Okanagan, all made possible by the Honda Civic Sport Coupe that got us there safely and back.


Honda Insight Hybrid 2019 review

This weekend we were blessed with some sun, so as to not waste a sunny day, my partner and I hopped in to our Honda Insight for the week, and set our horizons on a cruise.

Unfortunately many others were thinking of doing the same and we soon ran into traffic. But thankfully we were in the comfort of our automatic loan. And when you are forced to slow down and speed up, starting and stopping, you really appreciate not needing the extra hand and foot motion. To be able to shut off your brain some and enjoy the breathtaking view that whizzes by as you drive fast. A beautiful backdrop on this beautiful day.

The Insight Hybrid is based on the current Honda Civic Sedan, but more refined. The interior could be confused with an Accord, with a very similar look and feel. They have also borrowed its hybrid system, strapping on an Atkinson-cycle 1.5-litre inline-four gas engine. 129 horsepower and 197 lb-ft, with a total combined power output of 151 horsepower.

Handling and steering wise the Insight feels pretty sharp. Nothing like the a Civic Si or a Civic Type R, but it does come with a sport mode! You wouldn’t consider this a sport car, but the steering has some good feedback to it, and the car doesn’t feel like a boat cornering. Including the sport mode, the insight has two other driving modes: econ and normal.

Like most hybrid cars out there, there are two paddles behind the steering wheel, which Honda calls their “deceleration selectors”. These paddles give you the choice between three different levels of regenerative braking performance, for restoring energy to the battery pack.

Although the view was constantly stunning, the drive did have some challenges. With the Insight, Honda decided to ditch the transmission all together, yes you heard that right, no transmission! This was a design formulated in 2014, spring boarding with the Accord Hybrid. The idea behind this is having a different direct drive gear to propel the car. It all sounds pretty complex, but long story short: at a low or steady speed on the highway the Insight feels the same, if not better than being behind the wheel of a regular automatic transmission car. However when you are trying to go up steep hills, something gets lots in translation. Even though there is no transmission, it still feels just like a regular automatic transmission slip. In other words the engine revs higher, yet it feels like the car isn’t going any faster, like having a hard time doing its job. And as a learned manual driver you are taught that this feeling and sensation means your clutch is broken, but in reality for the Insight this is business as usual.

And the Insight is a pretty quiet ride in general, but during those uphill stints, we wished for earmuffs. Although Honda did take this into consideration by adding “Active Noise Control” to the speakers of the audio system. Thus temper all extra road noise. They also supplemented the engine noise in Sport mode, a difference that can be clearly heard when driving more aggressively.

But realizing the market that this car was built for, and who they are targeting, you can’t blame them for the any of it. This vehicle isn’t your weekend warrior, but it is the wheels for your daily transport. City driving in small bouts, grocery shopping with multiple loads. And here is also where the economy mode shines. Using the stored electricity decreases your consumption of fuel. Meaning less trips to the gas station and less bills left on the counter.

Today it saved us plenty, as we required and guzzled quite a bit going up and down on the Sea to Sky Highway. Our goal was to chase the sun that the fog and clouds were quickly covering. To drive up and up, to get close enough to be in awe of the highest snow capped mountain. There is nothing more humbling than looking up at something and realizing how small you are to it by comparison, and in the world as a whole.

On our travel we encountered various elements. When we hit patches of sun we dawned our sunglasses and had the sunroof to roll down. In the snow, the reverse camera got covered by the excessive splashing from run-off on the side of the road. The clump of flakes obscured the camera and our visibility. But the left and right hand side cameras were left in tact, and continued to relay video images on to the infotainment system each time you land changed. I personally found them distracting behind the wheel. Checking my shoulder and preparing for said lane change, only to be startled by the quick flash of the screen in my peripheral. When it came to the rain, the automatic rain sensors kept the windshield clean and our visibility high. It was most practical in helping to wipe off the spray that was created by the cars in front of us. Spray that occurred as intermittently as the patches of wetness that riddled the road.

In short we enjoyed out time with the Honda Insight and are thankful for the grandeur it was able to take us to see.

Honda Clarity, review

In 2017 Honda added the Clarity to their line up of motor vehicles. This name may ring a bell to some, as the 2018 Clarity is the direct descendant of the FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle that Honda offered drivers between 2008 and 2014. It was the world’s first hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicle intended for mass production.

Last year Honda re-introduce a newer version of this hydrogen powered car. It was the same as the 2008 hydrogen version of the Clarity, but only available in parts of California, where hydrogen stations are actually assessable. Now, fast forward to 2018, where Honda releases a plug-in hybrid version of the Clarity. This is what we had the pleasure of test driving this week. Right off the bat, being behind the wheel of the Clarity put me at ease (although this may just be because I have been driving around in large trucks and SUVs as of late). The size and handling was reminiscent of my very first car: the Honda Civic. It was the right size for a driver like myself, quick to speed up and smooth to jet around in, all in the ideal compact size for easy parking.

However, visually the Civic and the Clarity differ greatly in terms of their styling. The Clarity’s appearance isn’t for everyone, you might not even call it traditional “pretty” (for a car). The height of the trunk’s lid felt misplaced and odd in shape. Although its design did serve a purpose. The trunk was was crafted to accommodate the large, high-pressure hydrogen tanks mentioned easier. Similarly, the design of the rear wheel arch covers were function over appearance. They were moulded to reduce drag, thus making the Clarity more fuel efficient. Although for those who preferred form over function, it could be seen as an eye sore.

Thankfully the front end made up for this with its sleek look. The Honda Clarity has very distinctive LED headlights. It and the futuristic and aerodynamic looking 18” wheels make the mid size sedan easy to spot in a parking lot or rolling down the street. (This is what they mean by “a head turner”.)

While the exterior is up for debate, the interior is very pleasing to the eye. It is clearly a step up from other plug-in hybrids. Perforated leather, open pore wood trims, chrome strips, and suede-like fabric; all blended on the dashboard seamlessly. We really like the “floating” gear selector console in the middle of the cabin, surrounded by the above mentioned beautiful wood trim. It also has some fancy cup holders that accommodate larger and smaller beverage cups; a small, but very thoughtful commuter detail.

Honda decided to stick with their old infotainment system for this new vehicle, meaning you have two choices when adjusting the volume or changing the radio station. You can either use the touchscreen, or toggle through on the steering wheel’s controls. Unfortunately, having a few settings only accessible by touch screen can be troublesome. For example, trying to put your finger on the right “button”, when trying to keep your eyes on the road, can prove challenging. Although who really uses the radio anymore anyways? Actually, I do actually… and after the climate setting, it is the second most touched, pushed, and toggle thing in my car. Luckily the first is climate control; and there are buttons to adjust it, conveniently mounted bellow the 8” touchscreen.

On the road the Clarity basically drives like a slower, less-sporty Accord, with a curb weight of 4000lbs. It is actually quite heavy for a mid size sedan, but being heavy seems to be an inevitability for lithium-ion battery powered cars.

A point, that bring us to the question of what propels the plug in? The Clarity has roughly 75 km of electric-only range from the 181-horsepower electric motor and 17kWh lithium-ion battery. There’s also a little 1.5-litre gas engine under the hood, to provide up to 212 total horsepower and a total range near 600km. But the artistry of this car is not the amount of power it has, but the various ways it can harness it. Honda is known for pushing the envelope when it come to technology, and the Clarity proves to be a great example of that.

The only real negative comment we can make is regarding the powertrain’s small 1.5L gas engine and its noise level. It is fairy of loud with a heavier load, going up a steep hill. Although I guess that is to be expected with all that extra weight the midsize sedan has to carry around.

The CVT-type transmission includes three possible drive modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. Each mode delivers progressively more aggressive acceleration, and an increased pedal response. Its regenerative braking system also has a few modes. Four that can be selected by paddles on either side of the steering wheel.

It is also equipped with the latest in road safety technology. Honda Sensing gives you everything from adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, to collision and road departure mitigation. And like the new Civic, there is no blind-spot warning; instead, Honda uses a passenger-side camera. More is visible, but I am more partial and more responsive to a warning of sound, rather than any additional sight.

In conclusion we were highly impressed by Honda’s plug-in hybrid. They have made this vehicle easily accessible for the average driver. The Clarity is perfect for that someone who just wants to get in and move about from point A to B, without spending $100 on gas on their weekly commute. And driving an electric vehicle, such as this, has additional perks. There are government incentives to be taken advantage off if you live in one of three provinces in Canada. Purchasing a brand new Honda plug-in, and decreasing your carbon footprint with it, will save you $5,000 in B.C., $8,000 in Quebec, and $14,000 in Ontario. In short, not just a good ride for you, but a great drive for your pocket and the planet.

Thank you for the opportunity Honda, until the next one!



Honda Fit Sport 2018, review

A fun little hatchback with a surprisingly big interior~

This is the 3rd generation of the Honda Fit, therefore it was about time that it received its obligatory mid-generation refreshment in 2018. A refresh that helped to make what was already a great little hatchback into something even better. And while they were at it, Honda added a new trim level to their line up. But this review is just on the Fit Sport, which we had the chance to test drive a few weeks ago.

The main difference between the Fit Sport compared to the other models, is its new aerodynamic additions. A re-styled front and rear bumper, side skirts, foglights, an orange-highlighted splitter, glossy black 16 inch wheels, a rear diffuser, and a chrome-tipped exhaust.

Inside, you get different fabric seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather armrest, and a leather shift knob. The Fit Sport also comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All with a complimentary upgraded sound system to best enjoy the above.

The rest is as you expect. The interior has always been where the Fit shines, and that hasn’t change. Its trademark 60/40 split rear seats fold down to provide a long flat cargo area, perfect for hauling larger household items or sport equipment. The quality of the material used overall looked and felt good. Along with the touchscreen display, it gives the vehicle owner and driver the feeling of value. You definitely can’t tell that they work working towards a price point when designing this.

Our little hatch of the week made for a perfect daily driver. We drove it around town and the Fit offered composed, nimble and precise handling. The engine isn’t the most powerful thing out there, but its just enough to have some fun with during free stretches and winding bits. 1A .5L DOHC inline-four that uses Honda’s i-VTEC (variable valve timing) technology and makes 130 hp 114 lb-ft. It come with a manual 6 speed transmission, a transmission that is just like the Civic Si we had the previous week: precise and effortless. In short, I can see what this is such a popular model for every day driving and modifying. A great vehicle at a great price point. Thanks for this #WhipOfTheWeek Honda!




Honda Civic Si review

The Honda Civic Si is a sportier version of the standard Honda Civic, available as a coupe or sedan. And recently we got a chance to try out the more practical latter.

My partner was most excited to get behind the wheel of this one, because like me, his first car was also Honda Civic. Although, where as I had the standard, he was sporting a 90’s Si. And back then (when he was but a teenager), this was THE car to have, if you wanted to be cool. And he was. Although, as he aged, his desire for the Civic Si dampened. Admittedly, as the generations of Civics to follow evolved, he found the models heavier, with the sporty and fun factor that you once found in early Si’s, a mere memory. Therefore when he first got behind the wheel of the 2018 edition, he wasn’t expecting much. He expected a “gutless” vehicle with a new 1.5litre turbo engine, that would handle like the regular Civic Hatchback Sport, that we test drove last year. Though he would soon eat his words. He was surprised by how the little 1.5litres turbo engine pulled hard. It went 0-100 in less than 6.5sec, with a crisp 6speed manual transmission, and an active dampers suspension system (which he deemed the “cherry on top”). Having all those three together made him look forward to his daily commute, even if it was partly sitting in Vancouver traffic.

Honda opted for a 1.5L turbocharged engine instead of the 2.0L naturally aspired engine found in the last few generations of Si. The throttle response is a little slower than the 2.0L, but the turbo gives it a nice little push between 2500-5000rpm, with a different powerband than his predecessors. This made it very fun and quite addictive, if you asked my partner. He has always been a fan of Honda, declaring that they always “kill it” when it comes to manual transmission for their sport cars, and it looks like things haven’t changed in that department. Except now the shifting is more precise and effortless.

He described the 2018 Civic Si as being “sleek and sporty”, pointing out its Lamborghini-like tailpipe, rear spoiler, 18″ wheels, aggressive front end with fog light.

On the inside you can find well-bolstered seats to keep you tight while cornering, yet still comfortable with lumbar support and heating. The Si also comes equipped with all the amenities you’d expect from a modern daily driver: sunroof, dual zone climate control, and apple car play, But best off all, there is a neat digital instrument cluster that allows you to display some cool and race car-ish features. Features like a g-force monitor, turbo pressure, and shift light. Little details that a younger driver would enjoy, as their one step closer to actually owning a race car. Especially if you push the “Sport” button on the centre console. This has the dampers firming up slightly, and the throttle response sharpening, thus giving you more steering input, making the car more analog and more fun to drive. And boy did we take the Civic Si on plenty of joy rides. And even after a week of doing everything, but being polite with the accelerator, we were still averaging around 10litres /100km, which is very impressive.

In short, it is no wonder why the new Si was a contender for the motor trend car of year. Bang for the buck, we challenge you to find something as fun as the new Si to drive, with its fuel economy. This is definitely one of the most satisfying to handle front wheel drive cars currently on the market. Thank you for the loan Honda!



Honda Odyssey 2018 review

This week we were spotted cruising around the Lower Mainland in what many affectionately call a “mom van”, given how much it does and how it makes your life easier, it wears this moniker well. Your mom can do it all, while ensuring you are safe, and having fun. Just like what the Honda Odyssey does for you on the road. However, in my review, I have deemed it more a “party van”, given how it fits into our particular lifestyle.

Just because we don’t have kids, it doesn’t mean that we can’t get excited to get behind the wheel of a mini van, especially knowing how practical this one would be. The redesigned and reengineered Odyssey 2018 is filled with some really cool features, that you won’t find in any other regular coupe or sedan. A redesign complete with new exterior styling, a revised V6 engine, a new 10 speed automatic transmission (for the elite and touring model), and an all new infotainment system.

Admittedly it isn’t the sexiest thing on the road, but Honda has done what it could to carve this into the menacing, sporty, and futuristic minivan that it is. A crystal black pearl paint job with chrome accents and 2 tone 19 inch aluminum wheels; all to match the black leather interior with silver trims. Most noticeable is the van’s shorter front to offset the elongated back. Although looking at from front to back, my biggest concern was parallel parking it. Thankfully there is always reverse assist.

Which brings me to the interior, and all that it has – everything. So for the sake of fluidity, let’s work our way front to back. The first thing I noticed was the centre console. We likened it to the chest plate of a transformer. Especially with the symmetry and the LED blue highlighting.

The first thing my partner noticed stepping in, is the modern instrument cluster. He stated that it looked like it belonged on the dash of an expensive race car. At the centre you’ll find the new infotainment system, with an easy to navigate system. It is not unlike a tablet, but with some more child-focused features. Like the baby monitor that Honda calls its “cabinwatch” video and intercom system. “Cabintalk” lets you communicate with the rear passenger via the speaker or headphones (the van comes with a wireless pair). It allows you to survey all that happens within the back seats, without you having to physically look back. Ideal for the family on the go, and when a fight erupts while you are driving, and you shouldn’t/can’t take your eyes off the road to deal with it. Or in my “party” scenario, when you are driving and don’t want to miss any of the happening ons in the backseat or the conversation therein. This way those in the front are not left out.

A minivan’s primary function is hauling people and things, and in this, the Odyssey doesn’t disappoint. The front seats are fully adjustable with the option to heat and cool. Its third row is amongst the roomiest in its class. And all the three offer plush cushions and seats that recline. Plus enough cup holders to service them all. A total of 15 cup holders to the would be 8 passengers. Plenty of room to store drinks and have them within arm’s reach when enjoying the entertainment the Odyssey provides. Like the 550watt audio system and the 10.2inch high resolution screen that folds down from the room.

There is even shop vac vacuum built in, to clean up after those you invite into your “party van”. Its hose extends all the way to the front cabin. A cabin that was quiet at low and highway speeds. A smooth ride where you can only hear the engine when the accelerator pedal is to the floor.

Speaking of engine, it is a 280hp 3.5l V6 with a new 10speed automatic transmission. And is surprisingly quick off the line. The new transmission shifts quickly and precisely, it propels you 0-100kmh in 6.6sec. And according to my partner, this falls into the “hot hatch territory”, making it very quick for a minivan. It is actually almost a second faster than most of his rivals. The Odyssey handles fairly well, it changes direction crisply, and the steering wheel gives you a light bite, resulting it competent cornering.

But it doesn’t end there. There are additional features like earphone jacks and USB ports on every arm rest, eliminating the need to share. Digital climate control for the rear, built in garage door opener, heated steering wheel and mirrors, lane departure, and sun shade screens on every window that pull up and clip into place for the covering necessary on road trips. The doors and trunk open and close with a push of a button. And the head rests at the very rear even slides down to support for those who are shorter or have smaller bodies. There is even a funnel that comes with the van, in cause you need to jerry can in your oil.

Then there are the easy stowing seats for extra trunk room. The seat in the middle of the second row is especially handy. One, it comes with built-in catches to easily strap in any baby car seat. Two, you can push the back down to become a spacious arm rest with more cup holders, and even a snack compartment. Three, you can just pull it out completely and have more room with single person chairs. Or four, push the individual chairs together to have a love seat giving you more room between you and the door, and less between you and your seat mate.

In short the Honda Odyssey is everything you need as the modern parent. Or as I have been pitching, the Honda Odyssey is the ultimate party bus, road trip vehicle, or moving van. Thank you for the opportunity to try a vehicle we might not otherwise get a chance to.


Honda Civic Hatchback Turbo, test drive

I am not a car person, I have a vehicle to get me from point A to point B, and have only been behind the wheel of two different ones, long enough to get a feel of how they actually handle.

So when I was given the opportunity to test drive a 2017 Honda Civic, hatchback turbo, I jumped at the opportunity; after all my first car was a 1988 Civic. I called him “Rusty” he was brown and old, and as you can surmise, had much of a certain identifying feature to earn him his nick name. He served me well and I never wanted another car, until he was on his last legs and was forced into retirement. So I figured, to be behind the wheel of a newer Civic would be nostalgic, I was wrong. The technology in the 2017 and its features, made it feel like a whole different species, and that’s not even mentioning its exterior.

Now excuse the next part, as I eluded to above, I am no car expert and therefore will be fumbling my way trough the terminology used to describe one. For any car enthusiasts reading this, please considerate it satirical?

The curvature of car and the vents up front helped to make the vehicle more aerodynamic, not to mention giving it a more streamline look. Where as my “Rusty” was a functioning brick. Block, pointy, and as slow looking as it actually was. In retrospect I don’t know why I loved it as much as I did.

Inside, the patchy fabric interior of my ’88 Civic looked grungy compared to the matted leather of the hatchback. And don’t even get me comparing how each smelled.

The 2017 had plenty of cargo space thanks to the hatchback. It was practical, reminiscent of the Civic hatchbacks from the 90’s. It is small and agile, perfect for driving in big city centres. And best of all, its fuel economy is amazing, we spent a week cruising unnecessary and it only cost it $50 for our efforts. This was given the power you get from its turbo engine, which was surprising considering it isn’t a top of the line model; and the fact that it was automatic not manual.

In fact the hatchback was automatic everything; it had every modern convenience, and then some extras that I didn’t know existed. (My current vehicle is a 2002. It has a cassette tape player and a 8 CD changer in the trunk.) With “Rusty”, you had cracking handles, to literally wind down each windows, and were forced to pull a knob up to unlock each door. With the hatchback it was a mere push of a button for most things.

This is the only photo I have of that Civic: my partner working hard to fix yet another issue that arose with it. Brown interior in a brown car…

Here is a stock photo for reference.

So to get this 2017 model for a week meant I enjoyed all its modern comforts and improved handling for a week. And there is nothing like trying a new Honda Civic to reset your previous expectations on the brand and name.



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